|Odeon Cinema, Manchester|
Odeon Cinema in 2009
|Design and construction|
|Developer||F. Verity and S. Beverley|
The Odeon Cinema, Manchester (originally known as the Paramount Theatre or the Paramount Cinema) was a former Odeon Cinema located on Oxford Street, Manchester, England. It was close to St. Peter’s Square, within the Civic Quarter of Manchester city centre. It was demolished in April 2017, to be replaced by Landmark, a 14-storey office building, as part of a major transformation of the area.
The location of the theatre had originally been developed towards the end of the 18th century; by the 1930s the site had been fully developed, featuring a mix of commercial and residential properties. By the start of the 20th century, the site was used entirely for commercial purposes, and it featured two pubs. The site was cleared by 1930 for the construction of the Paramount Theatre.
The Paramount Theatre on Oxford Street, Manchester, opened on 6 October 1930,showing The Love Parade , and featuring a variety show on stage. The theatre was built for the Paramount Film Company of America, and was designed by Frank Verity and S. Beverley (now known as Verity & Beverley ), who had also built the Plaza Theatre in London. It was one of 50 proposed Paramount Theatres, and was one of the first open, and the first in the UK to bear the company's name; others included Paramount Leeds, Paramount Newcastle upon Tyne, Paramount Glasgow, Paramount Liverpool, Paramount Birmingham and Paramount, Tottenham Court Road, London.
A single-screen cinema,it was capable of seating 2,920 people on two levels (the Stalls and the Balcony), and the building also contained a fully equipped stage, a fly tower, dressing rooms, an orchestra pit, an organ and a cafe. The cinema was designed to operate in the cine-variety era; it was mostly used to show films (such as those featuring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald ) but it also put on live stage shows (including those by Francis A Mangan, which were accompanied by a full orchestra). It was purchased in November 1939 by Oscar Deutsch as part of the Odeon Theatres Ltd, and was renamed as the Odeon in 1940. It became a Rank cinema in 1941. Its piano lounge subsequently hosted Bruce Forsyth among others.
The building featured a stone-faced façe with four bays, and a full-width canopy, both facing Oxford Street. The cinema had three levels, one of which is a mezzanine. The foyers and auditorium were decorated in a Baroque style; the building also had a large rounded proscenium and an illustration of the sky on the ceiling.
The theatre was divided in 1973to become a twin screen cinema, at which time the organ was removed. It gained a third screen in 1979, and four more screens were added in 1992 using the basement and stage areas; it opened as a seven-screen cinema on 8 May 1992. The cinema had a private car park with a small number of parking spaces to the rear. In 1992, it hosted the premiere of A Few Good Men .
The theatre originally had a Wurlitzer Publix One theatre organwith 4 manuals and 20 ranks of pipes, specified by Jesse Crawford. It was planned to install one of these in each of the 50 Paramount theatres, however this was the only one to be installed, and the only one of that model to leave the United States. When the theatre was divided, the organ was acquired by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust, loaned to the City of Manchester and relocated to the Free Trade Hall (a process taking four years); and was first used there in September 1977. When the Free Trade Hall closed, it was subsequently moved to the Stockport Town Hall's Great Hall.
The cinema closed in September 2004 after 74 years in use,due to competition from the AMC Great Northern. After its closure, it was occasionally used as a church.
In 1999, the building was considered for listed building status as part of a thematic survey of cinemas, however it was rejected as too many of the original features had been removed.When the cinema closed in 2004, the orchestra pit, stage, proscenium, ceiling and foyer areas were still partly intact (although hidden), and could be restored. It was thought to be the oldest cinema in Manchester's city centre. However, an additional assessment in February 2007 also rejected listing the building; English Heritage explained that this was due to the extensive removal of its original features and the extensive interior damage to the building. It was claimed that this damage had been "systematic and methodical", although the current owners stated that they had only carried out "limited and entirely lawful exposure works". It was certified as being immune from listing on 25 July 2007 (renewed 28 November 2012). Permission to demolish the building was given in September 2016. The building was demolished in April 2017.
The cinema is scheduled to be replaced with an office building named Landmark, matching the adjacent One St Peter's Square. 22,575 square metres (243,000 sq ft) of office floor space over 14 storeys, as well as a three-level 116-space basement car park, in a 0.18 hectare site. It is being developed by Hines UK Limited and Manchester & Metropolitan Properties Limited, and designed by Squire and Partners.The building will have
Planning permission was originally obtained on 15 February 2007,and was due to be completed in 2009. At the time, the building aimed to hold 2,000 workers, and would cost £45 million. The permission was extended in September 2010. and renewed in August 2013, with some tweaks to meet BREEAM 'excellent' standards. Construction is not planned to start until market conditions are suitable – in particular, until pre-let deals have been arranged with the first occupiers.
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